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Our Philosophy – Ayatullah Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr

Flaws of Communism

In fact, even if the communistic system treats a number of the maladies of the free capitalistic system by means of abolishing private ownership, yet in one respect, this treatment has natural complications that render the price of treatment much too high. This is in addition to difficulties that one encounters in the method of applying this treatment. One cannot employ this method, unless [12] all other methods and procedures fail. In another respect, this treatment is incomplete and does not ensure the end of all social corruption. This is so because it is not accompanied by a correct diagnosis of the illness and the specification of the point from which evil proceeded and conquered the world under the capitalistic system. That point continued (p. 82) in the communistic school to retain its position with regard to social life. With this, humankind did not win a decisive solution for their big problem, nor did they obtain the remedy that heals their fits of illness and uproots their bad symptoms.

The complications of this treatment are enormous indeed. Its concern is to terminate individual freedom, in order to establish communist ownership in place of private ownership. But [13] this enormous social transformation is, at least until now, contrary to general human nature – as admitted by its leaders – since the materialistic human being still thinks in terms of himself and considers his interests from his limited individual perspective. Further, to put forth and try to fulfill a new design for society in which individuals completely melt away and personal motives are totally eradicated requires a firm power that holds the reins of society with an iron hand. Moreover, this power quiets any voice that grows loud, stifles any breath of freedom that circulates in society, monopolizes all the means of propaganda and publicity, imposes limits on the nation that the nation cannot exceed under any circumstances and punishes on the ground of accusation and speculation, so that it does not suddenly lose its grip on the reins of power. This is natural in any system one seeks to impose on a nation, before the mentality of that system matures in that nation, and before the spirit of that system prevails.

Indeed, if the materialistic human being begins to think in a social manner, to consider his interests with a social mentality and to be free of all personal sentiments, private inclinations and psychological effects, is would be possible to erect a system in which individuals melt away. With that, nothing would remain ac the scene except the huge social giant. But the realization of this in a materialistic human being who does not believe in anything except in a limited life, and who does not perceive any sense of life except chat of material pleasure requires a miracle that creates heaven in the present life and brings it down from the highest to earth. The communists promise us this heaven. They await that day in which the factory will put an end to human nature, recreate ideal humankind (p. 88) in thinking and acting even though they do not believe in any idealistic and moral values. If this miracle is realized, we will then have some words for them.

For the time being, to put forth the social design that they seek requires confining individuals to the limits of the idea of this design and ensuring its execution by setting the group that believes in it in charge of protecting it and by taking precautionary measures for its sake, through silencing human nature and psychological effects and using any means to prevent them from bursting forth. Under this system, even if the individual acquires full insurance and social security for his life and needs because the social wealth supplies him with all of this at the time of need, nevertheless, it would be better for him to obtain this insurance without losing the breath of righteous freedom, without melting away in fire as a person, and without drowning in a stormy social sea. How could a human being aspire to freedom in any field when he is deprived of the freedom of his life, and when his nourishment is fully linked to a specific organization – considering that economic freedom, as well as freedom of life, are the basis of all kinds of freedom?

The defenders of this system apologize while asking: ‘What would a human being do with freedom, with the right to be critical and to express his views, when he suffers from an abominable social burden? Again, what benefit would he derive from debate and opposition, when he is more in need of good nourishment and a secured life than of the protests and clamor with which freedom provides him?’

Those who put forth such questions do not pay attention to anything other than capitalistic democracy, as if it were the only social cause which rivals theirs on the battleground. Thus, they diminish the value and rights of individual dignity, because they see in it a danger for the general social trend. However, it is the right of humankind not to (p. 34) sacrifice any of their essentials or rights as long as it is not necessary for them to do so. Humans had to choose between dignity, which is one of their moral rights, and satisfaction of need, which is one of their material rights. Thus, [14] they lacked the system that combines both sides and succeeds in resolving both issues.

A human being whose capacities are the objects of extortion by others and who does not enjoy a comfortable life, a fair salary, and security in times of need is one who is deprived of the delights of life and has no access to peaceful and stable living. Similarly, a human being who lives continuously under threat, who is judged on any movement he makes, who is exposed to detention without a hearing and to imprisonment, who is exiled or executed for the slightest mistake he commits is indeed scared and alarmed. Fear steals away his good life and alarm disturbs its pleasures.

The third type of human being, who enjoys a tranquil life and is confident of his dignity and safety, is the pleasant dream of humankind. [15] But how can this dream be realized, and when will is become an actual reality?

We have stated above that the communist treatment of the social issue is incomplete, in addition to having the complications to which we have already alluded. Even though it represents human sentiments and emotions that were stirred up by the general social tyranny – thus attracting a group of thinkers to the new solution – nevertheless, these thinkers did not grasp the cause of corruption so that they could eliminate it. Rather, they eliminated something else. Therefore, they were not successful in their treatment and in achieving a cure.

The principle of private ownership is not the cause of the absolute evils of capitalism that shook the happiness and peace of the world. It is not, for example, what imposes unemployment on millions of workers, in order to utilize a new machine that will destroy their industries. This is what (p. 35) happened at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Again, the principle of private ownership does not impose a despotic control over the salaries of employees with disregard for their efforts. Further, it does not require the capitalist to damage large quantities of his products for the protection of the price of commodities and the preference for squandering these commodities instead [of using them] to satisfy the needs of the poor. Further still, it does not call upon the capitalise to turn his wealth into profitable capital, multiplying it through interest and through the absorption of the efforts of those who are in debt, and not through producing or working. Moreover, the principle of private ownership does not drive the capitalist to purchase all the consumer’s goods from the markets, so that he can monopolize them and then raise their prices. Finally, this principle does not require that the capitalist open up new markets that may infringe upon, or abolish, the freedom, rights and honor of nations.

None of these fearful tragedies was the result of private ownership. Rather, they were the product of personal, materialistic interest that was made the standard of life in the capitalistic system and the absolute justification of all managements and dealings. A society based on such an individualistic standard and personal justification cannot be expected to do other than what it actually did. It is from the nature of such a standard that those evils and afflictions proceed to fall upon mankind as a whole, rather than from the principle of private ownership. If such a standard is changed, and a new, rectified objective of life in accord with human nature is put forth, the real treatment of the big problem of mankind will have been accomplished.

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